May 18, 2024
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

We all are more or less familiar with the name Taj Mahal, the seventh wonder of the world. Every year many visitors flock to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Although we are familiar with the beauty and nobility of the Taj Mahal but historical context is unknown to many.

So today’s discussion is about historical figures, construction techniques and known and unknown events associated with the Taj Mahal.

Location: The Taj MahaI is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, on the right bank of the river Yamuna.

Taj Mahal in historical context

Emperor Shah Jahan

Emperor Shah Jahan was the fifth ruler of the Mughal Empire, who ruled the Indian subcontinent from 1628 to 1658. He was the son of Emperor Jahangir and Hindu Rajput wife Bilqis Makani. After his birth, he was named Shahab-Ud-din Muhammad Khurram.

He was a brave, intelligent and aesthetic ruler who made architectural, cultural and military developments in his empire. Emperor Shah Jahan is unique among Indian rulers.

Who is Mumtaz?

Mumtaz was the favorite wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Mumtaz’s original name was Arjumand Banu Begum, the daughter of Abu’l-Hasan Asaf Khan (the brother of the Mughal empress Nur Jahan). She was married to Shah Jahan in 1612. She gave birth to fourteen children during her married life and died giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631.

The end of 19 years of married life with Mumtaz’s death deeply affected the Emperor, it is said that after Mumtaz’s death the Emperor remained confined to his house for seven days straight and did not even touch food.

History of Taj Mahal

Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built this historical monument in Agra. The monument was built on the orders of the Emperor in memory of his late wife Mumtaz. There are different opinions about the Emperor’s love for his wife and the Taj Mahal.

According to some, the emperor built this monument out of remorse after the death of his wife. Many people think that this mahal is a sign of love for the emperor’s wife. Many unknown facts and secrets are hidden in the corner of this white monument.

The emperor’s married life with wife, Muntaz Begum, lasted only 19 years. However, Mumtaz gave birth to Shahjahan’s 14 children in 19 years of marriage. Needless to say, she was physically too weak for this task. Mumtaz Begum died during childbirth at the age of 39, unable to bear the physical stress.

It was only after the death of his wife Mumtaz that the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan began construction of the Taj Mahal in 1632 AD in her memory. About 20,000 people were involved in the construction of the Taj to make his dream a reality.

It took about 20 years to build the Mahal. The construction of the structure was completed in 1653 AD. But then it took another two years to complete the minor work. It cost about 3.3 crore 20 lakhs to make it.

Construction of Taj Mahal

The materials that were used to build the Taj Mahal were mainly brought from India and various parts of the entire Asian continent. More than 1000 elephants were used to transport all these construction materials. The marble stones required to build the mausoleum were mainly bought from different countries and different parts of India.

The transparent white marble in this was purchased from a place called Makrana in Rajasthan. Jets and crystals were purchased from China. The jumper was bought from Punjab. Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Cornelia from Arabia. And turquoise marble was bought from Tibet.

The Taj Mahal is a blend of Islamic, Persian and Indian culture

The design of Taj Mahal is very interesting. The mausoleum was built mainly by a combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic sculptures. Following the principles of Persian and Islamic architecture, the monument is almost perfectly symmetrical.

Minarets (towers), walls, rooms and even gardens are built following perfect symmetry. It is 5 feet taller than Qutub Minar. It is worth mentioning in this context that historians claim that all the craftsmen who built the Taj Mahal had their hands cut off. This arrangement is to ensure that such constructions are not made in the future. The chief craftsman of the mausoleum is Ustad Ahmed Lahri.

The materials that were used to build the mausoleum were mainly brought from India and various parts of the entire Asian continent. More than 1000 elephants were used to transport all these construction materials. The marble stones required to build the monument were mainly bought from different countries and different parts of India.

The transparent white marble in this was purchased from a place called Makrana in Rajasthan. Jets and crystals were purchased from China. The jumper was bought from Punjab. Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. Cornelia from Arabia. And turquoise marble was bought from Tibet.

Allah’s name across the walls of the Monument

Most of the manuscripts used on the walls of the Taj Mahal were taken from the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an. Apart from the walls of the Taj Mahal, Mumtaz Mahal and the tomb of Emperor Shah Jahan were also inscribed with such verses. The Taj Mahal has 99 different names of Allah engraved as calligraphy inscriptions at different places.

Cemetery Mystery

Not only Mumtaz, but Shah Jahan’s other wives and beloved servants were buried in the Taj Mahal. But they are located outside the mausoleum. Although almost all parts of the monument are symmetrical, the mausoleum is not. Graves should never be decorated according to Islamic tradition. Perhaps this is why Shah Jahan and Mumtaz were buried in a flat tomb beneath the inner chamber of the Taj Mahal.

Lord Curzon’s name is engraved on a lamp inside the Monument. The stone weighs about 60 kg and is placed in front of the main gate of the Taj Mahal so that the visitors can see it by entering the Taj Mahal.

The four pillars or minar of the Taj Mahal are not straight but slightly tilted outwards. The main reason for such construction is to prevent any natural calamities like earthquakes.

The Seventh Wonder

In 2007, UNESCO World Heritage listed the Taj Mahal as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Taj Mahal occupied this place by 10 crore votes. About 40 to 80 million visitors visit India every year to see the Monument, one of the most spectacular and beautiful monuments in India. More than 40,000 to 50,000 visitors visit this memorial on special occasions.

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